Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. It weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each country. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.
Similar to countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council
The top five countries most similar to Kuwait are all part of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC is similar to the European Union in that people and goods are allowed to flow freely between their countries. Furthermore, while these countries do not have a shared currency, all of their currencies have a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. They are also all monarchies and are some of the richest Arab countries.
The five least similar countries are not concentrated in one geographic location, although they all have tropical climates. These countries have a lower standard of living than Kuwait. They are also countries with a majority Christian population.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Kuwait
- Qatar is another wealthy Arab country that borders the Persian Gulf. Their geographical features are nearly identical, with the biggest difference being that Qatar is a peninsula. Their laws are quite similar as well. Both countries criminalize same sex relationships, prostitution, gambling, but allow polygamy. They are also heavily reliant on desalination to provide tap water.
- Bahrain is located in the Persian Gulf. One significant difference is that Bahrain is more densely populated and is only connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway. Still, most of the land in both countries is close to the coast and they have the same climate. Kuwait and Bahrain also have a mix of Sunni and Shia Muslims. Furthermore, they have many immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Arab countries.
- United Arab Emirates is another country on the Persian Gulf Coast that was once a British protectorate. While both UAE and Kuwait have many immigrants, in UAE they form an astonishingly 80% of the population. Although both countries do not typically do well in the Olympics, they both have medals in shooting. Both countries also have monarchs as their leaders, however in the United Arab Emirates, the monarch is actually elected among the rulers of the seven sheikhdoms that comprise the country.
- Oman and Kuwait have great maritime trading traditions and still have important port cities. As a result, these countries tend to be more religiously tolerant than other Arab countries. They both have a mix of different Muslim denominations, although Kuwait has more Shi’ites, while Oman has more Ibadi Muslims. However, in stark contrast to other countries on this list, Oman does not have any skyscrapers. In fact, they are illegal. Another difference is that Oman is more mountainous.
- Saudi Arabia is another oil-rich Muslim country with a high level of development. However, Saudi Arabia’s population is less diverse than Kuwait and it is has less immigrants. Its laws are less liberal and its government is less democratic. In addition, it is quite sparsely populated in comparison to Kuwait, although both countries are mostly barren desert landscape.
- Jordan, 7. Iraq, 8. Libya, 9. Egypt, 10. Syria
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Kuwait
- Democratic Republic of Congo, is a former Belgian colony that is extremely poor. In contrast to Kuwait, a vast majority of its land is forested. Furthermore, Democratic Republic of Congo is nearly landlocked and few people live near the ocean. In addition, it also has little demographic or cultural similarity to Kuwait as well. Its people are mostly Christian.
- Lesotho is another poor Christian country on this list. Not only is it completely surrounded by South Africa, it is also more mountainous than Kuwait and its climate is significantly colder. Although both countries are monarchies, Lesotho’s monarch only has ceremonial powers and the government is mostly democratic.
- Mozambique, despite also bordering the Indian Ocean, is also far different from Kuwait as well. The country gets a lot of rainfall and is more mountainous. It was a colony of Portugal before its independence. Although it is mostly Christian, it does have the highest percentage of Muslims on this list with around 20%. Its technology is also far different from Kuwait, since it drives on the left and uses Type C, F, and M outlets.
- Papua New Guinea is a tropical Christian country in the Pacific Ocean with little cultural or demographic similarity. In contrast to the deserts of Kuwait, it is one of the wettest countries on Earth. It is also more mountainous and less densely populated. Its infrastructure is also very different from Kuwait as well, since it drives on the left and uses Type I electrical outlets. One similarity is that both were controlled by Britain in the past, so English is widespread in these countries.
- Madagascar is yet another country bordering the Indian Ocean on this list, despite the fact that Kuwait does too. Madagascar’s climate is much wetter than Kuwait, however there are some portions of desert in the country. The island was once a French colony before becoming independent. Its people are unique since their ancestry has a mixture of both Austronesian and Sub-Saharan African lineage.
- Haiti, 7. Laos, 8. Malawi, 9. Burundi, 10. Central African Republic
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Kuwait
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